NTSB Identification: NYC08FA237
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Thursday, July 03, 2008 in Middletown, RI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 05/12/2009
Aircraft: PIPER PA-28-161, registration: N9888K
Injuries: 2 Fatal,1 Serious.

NTSB investigators either traveled in support of this investigation or conducted a significant amount of investigative work without any travel, and used data obtained from various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

A flight instructor and student pilot, with the student pilot's wife in the rear passenger seat, were performing touch-and-go landings on runway 22. Runway 22 was 2,999 feet long, 75 feet wide, and consisted of asphalt. During the approach prior to the accident, the airplane approached high, touched down long, and completed a touch-and-go. During the next approach, the airplane touched down further, about 2,000 feet from the runway threshold. The airplane then rotated and began a slow laborious climb, with the wings rocking. The airplane flew a shallow left turn, never rising above the trees, until it impacted trees. Throughout the accident sequence, witnesses heard constant engine noise and then a lack of engine noise, immediately followed by the sound of impact. Examination of the wreckage did not reveal any preimpact mechanical malfunctions. The reported wind at the airport, about the time of the accident, was variable at 4 knots. The flight instructor was experienced, operating out of his home airport, and familiar with the accident airplane. The flight instructor had a painful arthritic condition, primarily resulting in hand and wrist pain and stiffness. He was taking two different medications for arthritis, with the possibility of significant side effects, and for one of which the dose had been increased just two weeks previously. It is possible that toxicity from either drug, or from both in combination, may have resulted in impairment; however, the investigation could not determine if the pilot was impaired. The instructor pilot had not noted his diagnosis or treatment on his most recent application for airman medical certificate.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be:

The flight instructor's failure to initiate a go-around during a high approach, and his inadequate remedial action during an attempted touch-and-go.

Full narrative available

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